The German national carrier, which is part of Europe’s largest aviation group, has just said goodbye to the last Boeing 737 used in its fleet. From now on, its role will be dominated by the A320 series Airbus.
The German carrier and farewell plane linked a long and happy history. Lufthansa was the first air carrier to launch the first Boeing 737 Series 100 (this series is also known as “Original”). It was really long ago, because in 1968 (and almost 50 years ago!). Before the first man was on the moon’s surface, Lufthansa had already carried passengers aboard the Boeing 737 Series 100.
The most popular narrow-bodied aircraft of the world, its original shape, was largely overseen by the German carrier. Boeing designed the first narrow-bodied two-engine airplane of this type to take into account the voices of potential customers. Among them, Lufthansa had a lot to say – just as other interested operators waited for the plane to be configured with six seats in a row with a single alley dividing it to accommodate as many people as possible. This was the first product of the American label, which at that time enjoyed so much interest from foreign customers. The successes in planning and operating the “737” were quickly absorbed by other carriers who also set up on this jet. It is worth mentioning that the two largest low cost carriers of the world (American Southwest and European Ryanair) also only set 737. It was in the perspective of time that the Boeing 737 is today the world’s most popular passenger jet, with the number of produced cars approaching 9500 units.
Flight 737 fell in love with the Germans, who, following the idea of the pilots, called “Bobby” (the name comes from a small plane compared to the larger Boeing 707s and 727s). In subsequent years, successive generations of this aircraft were purchased (including the original -200 and -300, -400 and -500 Classic series), becoming one of the largest users of these machines in history. It is worth adding that in the history of Lufthansa none of the 737 had suffered an accident or serious incident (at that time, its fleet had as many as 148 such machines!).
In principle, with the exception of pending orders for the Boeing 777-9 and the Boeing 747-8, which was received a few years ago, the German carrier completely turned away from the American manufacturer’s offer. It is difficult to be surprised, because the smallest Airbus are formed in much of Germany. Nearly one half of all the production of the narrow-body aircraft of this manufacturer is built in the Hamburg Elbe. Lufthansa is committed to the development of a strong German aviation industry by choosing aircraft that are built in their own country.
The decision to bet on only the narrow-bodied Airbus aircraft certainly has facilitated the fact that the latest generation A320neo already flies in the Lufthansa fleet and offers substantial (up to 20%) fuel savings per passenger. Boeing’s 737-MAX Boeing 737-MAX has just finished testing flights. It is also important to note that a unified fleet is simply cheaper to maintain – servicing, maintenance training or even training crews is much cheaper when using a similar type of aircraft.
The last flight took place on 31 October on the route Frankfurt – Hamburg and back. On the occasion of the farewell ceremony of this important Lufthansa machine in the Hamburg center of Lufthansa Technik, which was responsible for maintenance of the fleet of this carrier, a farewell ceremony took place. After returning to Frankfurt with the machine, the crew departed, the carrier’s representatives and the head of the B737 fleet program at Lufthansa – Ulrich Pade. In this way the history of these aircraft in the colors of one of Europe’s biggest carriers has come to an end.